January 19, 2009

Molasses krinkles

Back in a past life when I was a grad student at Syracuse University, I had an assistantship that required me to work at the University child care center, providing care for children and mentoring student teachers. The daycare cook was a health-minded individual with whom I felt a great affinity. I was a vegetarian (not a vegan) at the time, and she cooked wonderful, mostly vegetarian food. She had a recipe for a gingersnap type cookie that she made only rarely, because it stretched the outer limits of what could be considered healthy. Those cookies had way too much fat and sugar, but I acquired the recipe anyway, because the cookies were so darn good. The recipe came from a woman (Lillian Radway of Pompey, NY) the cook knew who lived in a small town near Syracuse. I got this recipe more than 30 years ago but, when I googled it today, I found similar ones that seemed to trace back to Betty Crocker. Who knew.

Anyway, back in those days I was much more strict about what I would eat, and I had to make an exception for sugar when I ate these cookies. As delicious as they were, I never could quite bring myself to bake them because I was afraid that changing the recipe would ruin them, and I just couldn't bake them the way they were. But I've carried the recipe with me all these years, just in case. I finally decided to revise the recipe a bit and give them a try. I reduced the fat but not the sugar. Maybe next time I'll work on that! And they weren't ruined at all. They are just as chewy/crunchy/gingery and delicious as I remember.

Molasses Krinkles
(about 4 dozen 2" cookies)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil + enough vanilla soy yogurt to equal 3/4 cup
  • 1 cup evaporated cane juice (like Sucanot)
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2-1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Cream together the oil, yogurt and sugar. I used a wooden spoon to beat the mixture until it appeared to glisten and lighten. Because oil doesn't form tiny air bubbles like shortening does, creaming isn't going to have the same effect on the finished product. So don't knock yourself out trying to "cream" the fat and sugar.
  2. Add the flax and molasses and beat thoroughly.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. I think the easiest way is to just put the dry ingredients through a sifter.
  4. Add the dry to the liquid and mix. The dough will be somewhat soft and sticky.
  5. Chill for one hour. (The dough comes out of the refrigerator transformed and perfect for the next step.)
  6. With your hands, roll into walnut sized balls. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in cold water. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. (About 1/2 teaspoon or less per dozen.) (You don't have to flatten them if you don't want to. They will flatten a little as they bake, but the final result will be smaller and thicker than the flattened version. Just as good—but different shape.)
  7. Bake at 375˚F for 10-12 minutes until lightly cracked. I baked mine for 10. They come out of the oven very soft so leave them on the cookie sheet for several minutes to firm up before removing to a wire rack to cool.

If you leave the cookies sitting out, they get nice and hard just like traditional ginger snaps. These cookies are much too good to have around so I froze half, and I'm sure it won't be long before I find out if they freeze well.

note: Yes they do freeze well. And they are just as dangerous sitting in the freezer.


  1. Mmm! These remind me of a cookie I used to bake, too. I love the way they crinkle on the top--and also love ginger, of course.

  2. I love when I can veganize and healthify a cherished recipe. These cookies look really nice.

  3. I just watched a TV cook (just can't help myself) make ginger cookies, and he used fresh ginger, powdered ginger and candied ginger in large quantities. I think he used a tablespoon of each in about the same sized recipe. Now that's a gingery cookie! Of course he also used 3/4 cup of butter, etc.

    Next time I make these, I may punch up the ginger just for fun, but keep the healthier changes.

  4. These look really good and it is nice to have a story to go with them. It makes them even tastier :)

  5. Thanks, Holler. It's fun to go through old recipes and remember where they came from.


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